Integration of waveguides and LCD screens
Single use case
Integration of waveguides or LCDs
To make smart technology part of eyewear the image needs to be offered to the user seamlessly. There are multiple ways to achieve that: projection on a film and reflecting back into the eye, projecting onto a waveguide which then projects into the eye, or providing directly the image from a projector or a display to the user.
All of these require some form of integration with the lens which resides in front of the user if the goal is to make an attractive product. With 3D printing technology, it is possible to fully integrate whatever device is required directly into the lens, and on top of that, it is even possible to add the prescription of its wearer.
Integrated waveguides into prescription lenses
A way of getting the image projection into the retina is to use waveguides, which can be embedded seamlessly into the lens. 3D printed lenses allow a full encapsulation of a waveguide made from plastic or glass into a prescription lens. This protects the waveguide but also protects the user against breakage and adds a prescription to the combined device.
Integrate LCDs inside a prescription lens
Many smartglasses imply sending an image to be overlaid on top of the image coming from the real world. To do this you need to change the direction of a light beam coming from one side of the frame so that it ends up in your retina. One way to do this is by creating optical surfaces that direct the light through the interior of the lens where the encounter an embedded device, for example, a slanted diffraction grid that modifies the trajectory of light towards the retina. Unique about 3D printing of prescription lenses is that you can create optical surfaces not only on the front and the back but also on the side which allows you to integrate the light engine in the frame instead of in the temples.
Combining smart technology with prescription lenses
By providing custom lenses with a better form factor and integrated functionalities like waveguides, one can create smart glasses that look like regular glasses with additional functionalities. A company that combines the need for prescription with technology and successfully brings it to market will differentiate itself from the rest of the pack and be the leader in the (smart)eyewear of the future.
Benefits of 3D printed prescription lenses
- Enable to print the prescription lens directly on glass material
- Enable Full waveguide integration
- Enable Integration of LCD displays inside prescription lenses